Busson's Charity Gala Nets $28M For Disadvantaged Children

Jun 10 2011 | 11:44am ET

One of the hedge fund industry's more prominent charities raised more than $28 million last night at its lavish annual gala in London.

Absolute Return for Kids, founded by EIM Group's Arpad Busson, took in £17.2 million with the help of royal headliners Prince William and his wife, Catherine Middleton, in their first public appearance since their wedding in April. The total is 20% more than the charity, which raises money for disadvantaged children worldwide, collected last year.

Guests included Moore Capital Management's Louis Bacon, Winton Capital Management's David Harding and the Man Group's Pierre Lagrange, as well as celebrities such as Elizabeth Hurley and Kevin Spacey. The 1,000 ttendees paid £10,000 apiece—and then opened their wallets to participate in a charity auction.

Among the items on offer was the chance to have you child write a song with the lead singer of the band Kings of Leon, which performed at the gala. The band also auctioned off a guitar. Other items on the block included a makeover by designer Tom Ford, a chance to appear in the upcoming Les Miserables movie, and a weekend at next year's Academy Awards in Los Angeles.

But none of those things garnered as much interest—or cash—as the deal proffered by one of the evening's more controversial guests, IKOS Asset Management's Elena Ambrosiadou. At the center of a bitter divorce that has seen both sides trade nasty allegations, including, most recently, that Ambrosiadou spied on her husband and other employees and former employees, she offered up the chance for a week-long vacation on her yacht, the Maltese Falcon. The 280-foot vessel is among the largest privately-owned sailing yachts in the world.

A week aboard netted £480,000 for ARK. So Ambrosiadou offered another week, garnering an additional £450,000.


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